The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Father's Tears

Courtesy of Unsplash 

"A real man never cries."
-Plenty of people

My father is over 6 feet tall, has a loud, deep voice, and a very commanding personality. Among the people who use such terms, he would be considered a 'real man'. One thing he's never projected, however, is a false sense of 'what a real man should be'.

I've seen my father cry at occasions where normal people would and should cry; when our dogs passed, when I had my accidents, when my sister was hurting, when he watched a very touching movie, when he lost his father, and at other such moments in life. Not just my father, but I've seen other significant male figures in my life, like uncles and best friends, freely express themselves. Growing up, I always knew that being in touch with my emotions was never something to be ashamed of. However, I'm not a man.

I've heard many men and boys say it over the years, this silly mantra that's repeated and shouldn't be: "Real men don't cry." How does being in touch with your emotions make you any less 'real'? I don't have any brothers, but if I did, they would be among the lucky ones who wouldn't be subjected to this ridiculous standard; their tears would not be seen as weakness, they wouldn't be seen as lesser men.

In some circles, men who earn less than their wives are seen as weak. How does what you earn define who you are as a person? Fathers who spend excessive time with their children are called 'the mom'. Doesn't the father have any rights over his own children?

Courtesy of Unsplash 

By imposing these standards on men, by expecting them to be 'strong' and 'manly', we are instead distancing them from their own families.

Psychologically speaking, telling young boys that their tears are wrong can lead to so much damage later on. It might be harder for these boys to be empathetic as they grow up, and they will suffer because of not having appropriate outlets for their emotions.

Dear society, please let's stop projecting these standards and teaching boys and men to suppress their emotions! Let's stop sending a message that tears are a sign of weakness, that being in touch with their emotions makes them less of a man.

We're living in the 21st century, and men have as much right as women do to be in touch with their emotional side.

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